Friday, June 26, 2009

Bard On The Beach - A Comedy of Errors

I haven't forgotten or ignored what happened yesterday. I am just not at a point where I can write about it yet. Maybe tomorrow. RIP to 2 great talents. Farrah and The King of Pop. I am at a loss for words.

But, the show goes on and one of the perks of my job is the opportunity to see quite a few of the many productions that are put on by Vancouver's amazing Arts & Culture community.

Last night I was extremely fortunate to see Bard of the Beach's production of A Comedy of Errors. Directed by David Mackay who has a long history with Bard, and featuring a cast that I had seen in the much more sombre (but nonetheless outstanding) Othello a few weeks ago, I have to say that I had not laughed that had in quite a while.

First though, dinner was at Kibune in Kits. Fabulous. A sushi restaurant actually owned and won by Japanese people in Vancity? Something you rarely see! Even though it was in pretentious Kits, I could suck it up and enjoy the sushi. I have recently expanded my sushi horizons to include actual sashimi which is a good thing! All I can say is yummo and check it out.

We then made our way to the Red Tents at Vanier Park for Comedy. My date knew seasons ticket holders who were able to snag us some decent seats. For those unaware 2-3 rows from the top in the middle section is the best. I agree that there are no bad seats at Bard on the beach, but their are better seats! It was nice to not have to line up an few hours before the show with the rest of the masses.

The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse & his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Epheus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-incestuous seduction, the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus, and accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, & demonic possession.

It was 2 hours of wacky and riotous fun, starting with the incomparable Christopher Gaze, Artisitic Direcotr of Bard, appearing as the Virgin Queen in his role as the Duke of Epheus. The show descended into a farcical romp that included a quick cameo from the author himself as well as the entire cast breaking into a jig at the pronouncement the "This is Shakespeare"
The cast was fantastic as always. My secret love Bob Frazer was genius as a dim-witted monk during the start of the play, but came back as Antipholus of Epheus. Both Shawn MacDonald & Ryan Beil were outstanding as the hapless servants Dromio - I was more partial to Ryan Beil's performance, but both were great. And as always, Alan Zinyk was stellar in a number of small, but important roles.

I would be remiss if I didn't mentioned the fantastic use of music in this play. Ranging from Gregorian Chants to The Doors. What killed me was a totally unexpected insertion of War's "Low Rider" - that I think about 5 people in the audience recognised - announcing the entrance of Michale Blake's Angelo. I died. Srsly. It was beyond fabulous.

I cannot recommend this play enough. If you are not a fan of Shakespeare, this is a good one to pop your cherry to. It is easy to follow and is not at all dark and twisty like so many of his other works (trust me, I like the dark & twisty, but this one is pure silly fluffy goodness)

A few more Bard on the Beach tips from an aficionado: find a blanket, grab some food (& a bottle of vino perhaps), get their early (mostly no assigned seating, so earlier = those better seats I spoke of) 2-3 rows from the top in the centre are great seats. And remember to dress warm! The tent has an open back and the wind can whip through (as it did a little last nite). Finally, another fave dinner suggestion is Rocky Mountain Flatbread which you can get to-go. BEST PIZZA EVER. HANDS DOWN.

To be perfectly frank, I do have one teeny tiny little gripe against the fabulous folks at Bard on the Beach. What the what is up with the Rogers Icecreams? Bring back the Hagen Daz yo! Okay rant over (doesn't really qualify as a rant does it? - more like a rantlet).

Peace and love to all on this most odd of days. Yesterday shows you that life is short and that even those who seem to have it all can be gone in an instant.


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